Gifts for Adventurous Photographers
From a part-time hobby to full-time passion, photography has changed the way I look at everyday life. Capturing those moments in time that evoke some form of emotion is truly special and what I aspire to create through my photos. My name is Nick Crawford, and I’m a street, landscape, and travel photographer based out of Chicago. For most of my life, I’ve lived in Southern California, however, for the last 4.5 years, I’ve been blessed to call Chicago my home. I picked up my first Nikon DSLR camera shortly after I moved here as a way to show friends and family back home what I was up to. The city itself is so photogenic — from it’s stunning architecture and fast-moving street scenes to the seasons changing — I was instantly hooked. My background is in technical recruiting for high-growth tech startups, but now I work as a freelance photographer, partnering with various brands creating unique lifestyle content and am focused on traveling as much as I can, documenting it all through my lens. For more of my work, catch me on Instagram — @nickcrvwford.
I’m always stopping by Wayward in Wicker Park, Chicago — so I was super stoked when they asked me to talk about some of my favorite items in their store that would be perfect as a gift for travel photographers. As a photographer who’s on the move consistently, it’s important to pack light and pack smart, especially with gear you know you can trust to get the job done. Recently, my girlfriend HaNa — @hanayululu on Instagram — and I drove from Portland down the Oregon coast to San Francisco, en route to Yosemite National Park, where we spent a few days enjoying the fall colors. Along the way, we got to test these items in the field. Check out the full collection on Gifts for Adventurous Photographers to gear up for your next outing.
Incase DSLR Pro Pack
I tend to carry a lot of gear with me when I’m traveling including a drone, a tripod for long exposure night photography, my 15” Macbook Pro to edit on location if necessary, my Nikon D810 DSLR camera, and a variety of lenses — Nikkor f/2.8 14-24mm, Nikkor f/2.8 24-70mm, Tamron G2 70-200mm, Nikkor f/1.4 35mm, and Nikkor f/1.4 85mm. You have to have the right bag that’s both fully functional to hold everything securely but also looks great. The Incase DSLR Pro Pack is my new favorite bag. I actually first used it on this trip, and I was definitely impressed with both the quality of the bag and the sleek design. It has a heathered nylon exterior with felt padded interior with size-adjustable compartment layers for maximum versatility. I think the best part is the zipper at the top that opens right up into the camera bag. You can position the padding layers so that you can easily take your camera in and out, accessing it through the top of the bag without taking off the backpack. It’s a great size too, where it can store 1-2 DSLR camera bodies and a few different lenses plus a laptop, but not so big where it feels bulky at all — even when you have your tripod attached to the special straps on the side built for just that purpose. It’s got a ton of secure pockets inside to store extra cables, batteries, straps, etc. I tend to be rough on my gear, and I can honestly say this is one of the most durable bags I’ve used.
Filson Ultra Light Jacket
Moving from LA to Chicago, I’ve learned the value of layering — definitely the hard way my first winter here. As a photographer who spends extended time in harsh weather, it’s all about having the right cold-weather jacket — but if you can have one or two that are extremely versatile layers when the weather is changing, you’ll be golden. I’ve been a big fan of Filson for some time now. You can feel the quality and attention to detail in every product. For this fall trip, I chose their Filson Ultra Light Jacket in the Raven colorway. It’s super lightweight and not too heavy for the crisp fall weather but insulated enough to keep me warm, even while I was hiking in altitude at some of the tallest peaks in Yosemite National Park. This could easily fit under a larger overcoat in the wintertime. With a fleece lining on the collar and multiple zipper pockets inside the jacket, it’s a solid jacket for a photographer on the move.
Moment Lens New Wide Lens & iPhone Photo Case
I definitely subscribe to the saying that the best camera is the one you have on you, whether that’s a professional camera or your phone. While I do enjoy taking my Nikon D810 DSLR camera with me everywhere I go, sometimes it’s just not convenient. I’m a huge fan of the Moment 18mm wide lens designed to enhance your mobile photography. It’s a great focal length for everyday use, adding a more dynamic element to any cityscape or landscape scene. Moment makes an iPhone Photo Case that perfectly fits your phone, and their lenses attach by easily screwing them into the case. Super sturdy and really well built, I’d highly recommend this for any photographer. And, at under $100, it’s a total steal. They also make a Lens case which is perfect for keeping it safe when you’re not using it. I used this all over my west coast trip, especially when I was hiking or just on the go. Bottom line, this Moment Lens is a game-changer that enables you to take your mobile photography to the next level. They also make Tele and Super Fish lens attachments as well if that’s what you’re looking for!
Leica x Cooph Rope Strap
Any photographer will tell you, that you need to get a solid lens strap, one that you can count on in any weather. The Leica x Cooph Rope Strap definitely fits that mold. It’s got a thick, braided cord design, and it’s super comfortable around the neck for both smaller point-and-shoot cameras or for larger DSLRs. It comes in few different colorways, but I chose the ‘Glowing Red’ colorway, as it really pops. A perfect gift, I’m definitely going to get another one myself!
Leica Sofort Camera
In the last few years, we’ve seen a re-emergence of ‘instant’ cameras. They offer a super unique and tangible way to hold on to those special memories. I got a chance to test out the Leica Sofort Instant Camera with Lomography Instax Mini Film (Double Pack) and I’m definitely a huge fan. If it has the Leica name on it, you know it’s going to be built well, and this instant camera is no different. It has a clean vintage look with some modern upgrades that is sure to be noticed. I quickly realized this during the trip, as people would stop me to ask what it was and how to use it, all with a huge smile on their face as I showed them. As someone who takes a ton of digital photos to post online and on social media, this is such a cool, different way for me to remember my travels. At home, we decided to pin them up on the wall to create a little memory board. This is for sure coming with me to everywhere I travel and would no doubt be a fun toy to add to the collection for any avid photographer!